Breakfast in Bed
By KATHLEEN NIXON
Falls Church Times Staff
January 21, 2011
Ah the romance of waking up one lazy morning during the winter and your loved one has deftly prepared breakfast for you in bed. You linger over coffee and fresh scones or muffins, and truly enjoy the morning. Yes this is what every movie would like you to think but who has time to prepare the muffins from scratch or jump into the car on a chilly morning, stand in line at the bakery and make it back in time to enjoy the morning?
Well this was the theme of the most recent cooking class offered by Falls Church Farmer Market Chef Rob Valenica from Northside Social/Lyon Hall/Liberty Tavern – these delectable treats can be made ahead very simply and the product can be put in the oven in the morning while the coffee is brewing – no stress, no jumping in the car and all the time to enjoy the morning.
As part of the Saturday Afternoons with the Chefs series, Rob Valencia and Liam LaCivita, Executive Chef of the Clarendon trio of restaurants, provide a lovely way to spend a chilly January Saturday afternoon. The remaining classes include Cheesemaking with Liam LaCivita, Pasta Dumplings with Andy Bennett and Chocolate Romance with Rob Valencia. The classes are held at Northside Social and are limited to 15 people.
As the snow was falling outside, I headed up to the second floor of Northside Social and bellied up to the wine bar, not to sample a fine wine, but to watch my friend Rob dazzle us with how easy it would be to make scones, muffins or crepes. Eons ago I loved to bake, but lost the touch. Rob reminded me of the joys of baking so I felt that I could make a delicious scone or muffin easily and so did so many others in the class.
One of the great things about cooking classes like these is the opportunity to get to know the chefs. You frequently get to see the great food but rarely do you get the chance to chat with the chefs, learn about what interests them and how they came to know their craft. Rob entertained the crowd with stories about his training in restaurants under the tutelage of some intense chefs, how he came to be the pastry chef at Northside Social and his move to the area during Snopacalypse.
The premise of the class was to have one simple recipe and modify it. So the muffin and scone recipe could be altered to accommodate different tastes while the crepe batter recipe could be used for crepes as well as French toast. The other premise of the class was making things ahead, spending 15- 20 minutes each night before the weekend and then assembling the items one morning in a few minutes. Many of the items could actually be made days or weeks advance stored, refrigerated or frozen to help with spontaneous assembling when the mood struck or the snow was piled outside and a quick jaunt to the bakery wasn’t desirable.
Finally one of the best things about taking a cooking class is learning about all the little tricks and trade secrets from people who live and breathe great cooking. Rob’s class was no exception. Want great cooking equipment? Try one of the Vietnamese or Korean stores in Seven Corners or Bigtray.com. Want easy to cook baked goods all the time? Pre-mix your dry ingredients and store them. Want your muffins to pop and brown? Sprinkle a little sugar on top before baking. Want really awesome pancakes? Fold in meringue rather than whole eggs. Most of all classes remind us of the joy of cooking and to try something new.
Recipes can be found at: http://www.fallschurchfarmersmarketchef.com/recipes/
By Kathleen Nixon
January 21, 2011